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A Wondrous Mystery

The Philadelphia Inquirer on A Wondrous Mystery

David Patrick Stearns, Philadelphia Inquirer (22 November, 2016)

Stile Antico, one of the best early-music vocal groups on the Harmonia Mundi label, enjoys a special advantage at holiday time: Its kind of Christmas music isn’t so different from its usual repertoire – just a bit more joyful – so this new disc, A Wondrous Mystery: Renaissance Choral Music for Christmas, has year-round listening potential. True, there are Christmas carols in the mix, but they aren’t gussied up with fancy instrumental accompaniment, and the heart of the disc is the Missa Pastores quidnam vidistis by Jacobus Clemens non Papa that’s as substantial as anything written by that great 16th-century Flemish composer. Beautiful voices, clear and honest engineering, and pretty package… no mystery about its appeal.